If you’ve followed Out of the Boat for any length of time, you know that I have a serious addiction…to books!
It began when I was quite young, was encouraged by my family, and as an adult, I’ve never attempted to get over it.
It gets me in trouble occasionally…say when I stay up until 1AM reading a book I’ve read several times before. I mean, who does that?! I. Already. Know. How. It. Ends.
I think one of the best times to start a young human off on the path to a lifelong love of books is while they are still in the womb.
Don’t give an outfit they are going to wear for three hours and then puke on. Why not give a book!
Give books that are fun. Give books that have significance. Give books they won’t be able to touch until they’re ten. Give books they can chew on as soon as they can figure out how to get it into their mouths.
I love my books and I take care of them, but it doesn’t bother me for a baby to destroy a book. They will learn later not to rip, or eat, the pages. For now, I just want them to appreciate the feel of a book in their hands, the way the pages turn, or the mystery of those lines and squiggles that someday they will learn are words.
I know, I know….babies born today will be reading books on iPads in Kindergarten. Whatever. Unless you plan on handing over your Kindle to your newborn, I say start with a real book. One they can slobber on and chuck across the room.
So, here are my top picks for baby showers and newborns.
1. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago. Hands down the BEST children’s Bible out there. The subtitle is “Every Story Whispers His Name” and it does! I find myself in tears as I read the Old Testament stories and see how they point to Jesus. Every baby needs their own copy. (Every adult does, too, just sayin’).
2. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd. This is a classic, but it’s also a beautiful story of unconditional love and relentlessly pursuing grace.
3. I Love You Because You’re You by Liza Baker, illustrated by David McPhail. All three of my children love this book and it’s another one that gives us a glimpse into the way our Father loves us.
4. Dr. Suess books. You can’t go wrong here. Such fun words and random combinations. Dr. Suess was my first favorite author and I still love reading him to my kids today.
5. Board books. We love the board books by Dr. Suess, Al Perkins, and others. These are just the right size for tiny hands, they can’t tear the pages. While they may lose a few cardboard corners to tiny teeth, these books will stand up to a lot of wear and tear. With that said, I think we are on our fourth copy of Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb!
6. The “That’s Not My….” series by Usborne Books. (Ours were written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells). We own a bunch of these. Fun, silly, with lots of great colors and textures for babies to explore. My older two still enjoy them.
7. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry. We just got this and it has become a household favorite. A fun story with animal sounds, trucks, friendship, and a nice reminder that every person, no matter how small, has a big contribution to make.
8. Eric Carle books. Vibrant, fun, with lots of great repeats young children can follow. Brown Bear, Brown Bear was the first book Emma memorized and then “read” to us. Come to think of it, I think our copy was loved to death. I’ll have to get another one.
Those are my top picks for babies. I have so many more to share, but I’m saving them for the toddlers and preschoolers list…stay tuned!